Permanent educational scarring of disadvantaged children

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates

25% of school students ~2.5 million children had no schooling or tutoring during lockdown, an LSE Centre for Economic Performance study reports.  Further, the study adds, 74% of private school students had full days of teaching compared to 38% of other school students.  The authors say:

"Our research findings of substantial and continuing education loss add to growing evidence that disadvantaged students have fallen behind their more privileged peers due to differences in school provision, and the stark home learning divide in study space, computers and internet connectivity and access to paid tutoring.  The biggest fear is that pupils suffer permanent ‘educational scarring’.  This can occur at key transition points, when students fail to pass a particular threshold that has life consequences.  Failing to get standard passes in GCSEs at age 16 for example incurs a big earnings penalty – even by a single mark below the pass threshold ... .  If disadvantaged students fall further behind, they will miss out on a sixth form place to study A-levels or a university place to go onto higher education.  Finally, disadvantaged students may fall further behind during university.

It now seems to be widely acknowledged that shutting the schools was a huge error, although I'm not sure the DfE has said so.  Nor has it said why it allowed such a wide discrepancy between private and state schools to arise and persist.  We should, of course, remember that other groups were complicit in encouraging and maintaining the school shutdown – as they are trying to do again.
Are years of hard-won narrowing of the attainment gap between rich/advantaged and poor/disadvantaged to be set to nought?  It looks like it.  There's a sustainable development goal about this somewhere.  And so all's to do again.

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates


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